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January 18, 2009

We are home after many uneventful hours of flying. We still want to go to bed at 7 pm and wake up at 3 am. And it is COLD! Even for Victoria! I trust the sun is shining behind all those clouds and our yard is pretty much the opposite of the tropical lush landscpe we have lived in for the last 9 weeks.

But it has been wonderful to re-connect with our family, friends and neighbours. They say we look healthy, i.e. warm suntanned faces and each of us about 20 pounds lighter.

It has been a wonderful journey – lots of incredible sights, conversations and spiritually profound moments/times. Namaste.


Since September I Have Not . . .

January 18, 2009

driven a car
had a cold drink
had a hot shower (or any kind of bath)
heard any voices raised in anger
been to church!
seen public drinking
taken my life for granted
seen ugly or drab clothing
used a washer or dryer
paid more than $4 for a meal (usually more like $1.50)
been away from Joseph for more than 3 hours (and that was only twice!)
been cold
had a cloudy day (except the three days in a cyclone)
had my feet on carpet or tile (only beautiful cool marble)
ceased to be amazed


Hongkong Night

January 14, 2009

We did the tourist thing and took the cable car up to the top of Victoria Peak – what a view!


Hong Kong

January 14, 2009

This is a piano!


Enjoying a ceremonial tea.

see everyone’s laundry hanging out their windows?


Returning to Canada

January 5, 2009

This last week we have been planning our departure from India. Every day here has been a gift – we are well rested, renewed and have both received insights and even revelations about life, each other, the world and our place in it. I think we are both ready to embrace our Canadian life and are looking forward to a few simple things. In addition to our friends and family – there is ‘cold’ – anything cold would be wonderful. I am not a cold-drink person, but after 4 months of everything being room temperature or warm (including milk, smoothies, yogurt, soda…….) even I am looking forward to a cold drink! Good bread – our/western style of bread (yeast-type) is not an Indian thing, so what they have done to try to duplicate the western palate is to create this white bread that is slightly sweet. i never want to see another piece of that again – and am looking forward to some good rye and multi-grain style breads. Joseph is looking forward to some cheese, as here it is only processed stuff from a can. I am looking forward to sitting on our couch – which is soft. we have spent hours in hard wood chairs in restaurants, busses, trains, boats, our room furniture etc etc. the furniture is built of very solid wood. I am looking forward to getting out of bed, wandering into our kitchen and making myself a cup of tea in the morning and looking into our garden. Not getting up, getting dressed, walking 20 minutes through the crazy streets, (dodging holes, rickshaws, cows, garbage, buses, low hanging power wires etc etc) choosing a place to eat and waiting a half hour for a cup of tea. Today we are going to the beach – taking a little ferry ( the kind you see on TV that loooks so decrepit and ready to sink and you think – I would never get on one of those!) and then a 45 minute bus ride (and 2 km rickshaw ride) to the most exquisite, mostly deserted, coconut tree lined beach. We will pack some bananas, pineapple, cashews and water. I have my umbrella to shield my head. I swim in my clothes (since women’s bare skin is not OK) but Steve and Joseph will swim in their shorts. that’s OK – the water is beautiful clear and warm. Last time porpoises swam past us and little tropical fish (probably some of the same kinds we buy for our aquariums) swim right next to me. ahhhhh……………….
.

Here is Joseph in a music store trying out some flutes. You are seeing the entire store in this picture – it was amazing what they fit into this little space under a stairway. Me waiting for a street treat – warm cooked sweet potatoes with lime juice and chillie powder – delicious!

Sunbay – we have paneer tikki subway sandwich.


Our wonderful family in Kerala.

This last week we have been planning our departure from India. Every day here has been a gift – we are well rested, renewed and have both received insights and even revelations about life, each other, the world and our place in it.

I think we are both ready to embrace our Canadian life and are looking forward to a few simple things. In addition to our friends and family – there is ‘cold’ – anything cold would be wonderful. I am not a cold-drink person, but after 4 months of everything being room temperature or warm (including milk, smoothies, yogurt, soda…….) even I am looking forward to a cold drink! Good bread – our/western style of bread (yeast-type) is not an Indian thing, so what they have done to try to duplicate the western palate is to create this white bread that is slightly sweet. i never want to see another piece of that again – and am looking forward to some good rye and multi-grain style breads. Joseph is looking forward to some cheese, as here it is only processed stuff from a can. I am looking forward to sitting on our couch – which is soft. we have spent hours in hard wood chairs in restaurants, busses, trains, boats, our room furniture etc etc. the furniture is built of very solid wood.

I am looking forward to getting out of bed, wandering into our kitchen and making myself a cup of tea in the morning and looking into our garden. Not getting up, getting dressed, walking 20 minutes through the crazy streets, (dodging holes, rickshaws, cows, garbage, buses, low hanging power wires etc etc) choosing a place to eat and waiting a half hour for a cup of tea.

Today we are going to the beach – taking a little ferry ( the kind you see on TV that loooks so decrepit and ready to sink and you think – I would never get on one of those!) and then a 45 minute bus ride (and 2 km rickshaw ride) to the most exquisite, mostly deserted, coconut tree lined beach. We will pack some bananas, pineapple, cashews and water. I have my umbrella to shield my head. I swim in my clothes (since women’s bare skin is not OK) but Steve and Joseph will swim in their shorts. that’s OK – the water is beautiful clear and warm. Last time porpoises swam past us and little tropical fish (probably some of the same kinds we buy for our aquariums) swim right next to me. ahhhhh………………..


Trip to Munnar – Tea Plantations

January 2, 2009

We spent one day travelling through the tea plantations. As you can see they go on for miles and miles.

We stopped to enjoy this waterfall and I bought a cob of corn roasted on a small fire and then rubbed with – green chilis and lime. my lips burned for about an hour after that!

Here is Joseph standing under a forest of cardamon. As we travelled we experienced different vegetation. On the coast it is coconuts, coconuts and more coconuts. then as we moved slightly up in elevation there were lots more banana trees and fewer coconuts. then we got higher and no more coconuts – lots of cardamon forest and rubber plantations. then at the highest level were the tea plantations.
Coconut trees live for over 100 years and produce fruit (coconuts) for the first 70 – 80 years.


My brother Steve and I.


Spice Heaven

January 2, 2009

Our trip to the interior of Kerala offered these spectacular views of mountains and waterfalls.

when Joseph and I were trying to make our travel arrangements from Puducherry (on the east coast) to Ft Cochin (on the west coast) we kept running into this block – maps showed trains going south or north, but none straight through the the coast. roads (busses) also didn’t go through. finally, we thought – there must be something (geographically) in the way! well, this is it – these mountains. it reminded me of the Rift Vally in Kenya – very high abrupt precipices. during this trip we stopped in the area known for its spice farms. we stopped at a women’s coop and bought pepper and cardamon.

Baby coconuts. this is a cardamon drying machine!

these bees nest in a small pot that the gardener hung in his garden. in it lives mini-black bees (with no sting) and they make this very special honey that is used in ayurvedic remedies.


Our wonderful spice garden guide, responding to Joseph’s many questions.


This is what cardamon looks like when it is growing – low to the ground, at the foot of a bamboo-like branch.

here’s me – enjoying the orchids that grow freely outside

These women are sorting cardamon by size and quality. the air for about three blocks around this building is filled with the wonderful aroma of cardamon.